Rivendell Atlantis or Custom?
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  1. #1
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    Rivendell Atlantis or Custom?

    I recently rode an Atlantis and really liked it....but can't get it out of my head that their custom bike is very likely even better, and that I might be settling if I get the Atlantis.

    Is there anyone that has had both an Atlantis AND gotten one of their custom frames and so could speak on whether it really was worth it to get the custom frame?

    Any help would be appreciated.



    and yes, I know it's a 2 year wait, but my 40th birthday is around 2 years away so that might work out ok, anyway.

  2. #2
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    To custom or not to custom

    Quote Originally Posted by drewjensen
    I recently rode an Atlantis and really liked it....but can't get it out of my head that their custom bike is very likely even better, and that I might be settling if I get the Atlantis.

    Is there anyone that has had both an Atlantis AND gotten one of their custom frames and so could speak on whether it really was worth it to get the custom frame?

    Any help would be appreciated.



    and yes, I know it's a 2 year wait, but my 40th birthday is around 2 years away so that might work out ok, anyway.
    OK, so I've had neither an Atlantis nor a Rivendell custom, but I'm going to mouth off here anyway. I used to work at Moots Cycles in CO. We'd build some spec bikes and some custom bikes. The differences were minimal most of the time. It was only when people like "Big Smitty" (6'6", 300lb+) or the woman who painted our bikes (4'6", ~80lb) needed a bike that the custom frame became that important.

    I suspect that Rivendell spends a bit more time on the "custom" part of a custom frame than we did. They really make an effort to match the frame tubes to the riders weight and riding style, but if you are a "normal" sized person, the Atlantis would be hard to beat. It's made at one of the best frame shops in the world (high-end Japanese qualitiy control still leads the industry - in my opinion). A great deal of thought and refinement has been put into the frame design. It comes in a vast array of sizes, one of which would even fit "Big Smitty," the 68cm. You would not go wrong with an Atlantis.

    Of course, the perfect answer to your question is to get an Atlantis ASAP and order the custom Rivendell at the same time. You can ride the Atlantis until the custom is done, then compare and contrast the two bikes when you have them both.

    Er... You are independently wealthy, aren't you? ;)

    Yours,

    Forbes B-Black
    Santa Clarita, CA

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by drewjensen
    I recently rode an Atlantis and really liked it....but can't get it out of my head that their custom bike is very likely even better, and that I might be settling if I get the Atlantis.

    Is there anyone that has had both an Atlantis AND gotten one of their custom frames and so could speak on whether it really was worth it to get the custom frame?

    Any help would be appreciated.



    and yes, I know it's a 2 year wait, but my 40th birthday is around 2 years away so that might work out ok, anyway.
    If everything about the Atlantis lights your fire, buy it and be happy. There are very few frames in the world that are as well made, and even fewer that are better. But yes, the custom frames are better. Also, it's not just custom sizing, you can get extra braze-ons, the handling characteristics you want and a bunch of other things. Bear in mind that Rivendell isn't willing to build whatever the customer wants. There are things they won't do. Grant is pretty up-front about that, though.

    Call Riv and talk to Grant. He'll be honest with you, cuz he's that kinda cat.

    If you have to ask the question at all, go custom. Eventually, you will anyway, if you are that kind of person.

    --Shannon

  4. #4
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    I've got a Rambouillet

    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack
    Of course, the perfect answer to your question is to get an Atlantis ASAP and order the custom Rivendell at the same time. You can ride the Atlantis until the custom is done, then compare and contrast the two bikes when you have them both.

    Forbes B-Black
    Santa Clarita, CA
    You know, that actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it (and ride a lot).

    I've got a Rambouillet and a custom Waterford. Having a frame built exactly for you, your size and your riding style makes an amazing difference. I've already sold my Gunnar and as soon as my new (second) custom Waterford shows up (any day now) my Rambouillet will be on the block.

    I am fairly average if a bit on the light side so I never bothered with custom until my wife convinced me to give it a try. Likely in the next few years I will replace all my stock bikes with something custom.

    I am a happy customeer.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  5. #5
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    I don't own a Riv either, but I visited the factory on two occasions and spoke at length with Grant about Rambou vs custom. His take was that the Rambou would be close to the ride quality of the custom Riv unless I had "special needs", which I don't. The Atlantis, as I remember, is much more of an all-rounder, meaning that it has longer chainstays, different geometry, possibly a sturdier/heavier tubeset. I'm sure you have checked the website. A better alternative comparison might be Atlantis vs Rambou.

    In the end I bought a custom lugged frame from a small builder in the Los Altos area. I had more interaction with the frame builder than I would have had at Riv.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaCruz
    In the end I bought a custom lugged frame from a small builder in the Los Altos area. I had more interaction with the frame builder than I would have had at Riv.
    Who'd you get the frame frome? Allan Wanta just built me a fork. He's in the Carmel area. He did a beautiful job at an incredibly reasonable price. I'm thinking of having him build me a frame one of these days. What's his rep like up in his local area?

    Thanks,

    Forbes B-Black
    Santa Clarita, CA

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack
    Who'd you get the frame frome? Allan Wanta just built me a fork. He's in the Carmel area. He did a beautiful job at an incredibly reasonable price. I'm thinking of having him build me a frame one of these days. What's his rep like up in his local area?

    Thanks,

    Forbes B-Black
    Santa Clarita, CA
    I'm sorry, I don't know Alan Wanta -- bought my frame from Jon Tallerico who at the time was working out of the Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos. I had met Jon and was sitting in his small shop. I asked if he could build me a bike using some of the lugs that were hanging on the wall. To my surprise he said , "No those belong to another builder." Since another builder trusted him I felt I could too. I was not disappointed with the finished product.

  8. #8
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    Atlantis

    So I ended up ordering an Atlantis last September on my birthday. I just loved how comfortable it was, even compared to the rambouillet that I also tested out. I also started thinking that if I ended up going custom later, then I could always turn the Atlantis into either a straight touring bike or more of a fire trail bike with wider knobbies, etc.

    In an effort to sate my custom desires, though, I ordered an unpainted one that they would send to their local painter (d&d) - that way I could at least pick my color. Like I said, I placed the order on my birthday last year and it has been a long wait since. Unpainted 64's didn't end up coming in from Japan until January and by then I ended up pretty far back in the painting que - current eta is now May.

    I've assembled all of my parts and they wait patiently in their original boxes over my desk at home to be installed when my "deep blue" Atlantis finally comes home. I decided to try to turn it into a road bike in spite of it's touring routes.

    It was a really cool birthday - everyone at Rivendell was really nice and Grant helped me pick out the color. When they found out it was my birthday they gave me a hat, which was thoughtful. When I told them about how I had lost a bunch of weight (70 pounds) and that this was a kind of reward bike, he/they seemed genuinely happy for me, though I had just met them. Really great people.

    Anyway, still really looking forward to my bike. Can't wait to ride it.

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